Lou Cardoza is a married student with a two year-old who has a disability, completing a two-year diploma at the NSCC’s Waterfront Campus. His spouse earns half the median family income, as in $23,850 for 2004 and $30,750 for 2014-15. His spouse wishes to save for retirement, the education of their child, and possible expenses related to the child’s disability.

Our model assumes that Lou completes his program in two years and does not receive any additional financial assistance from the NSCC or another party. We do not assume that Lou saves any money from any summer employment, given his family’s higher living costs. Because Lou’s costs are shared with his spouse, this is the most complicated of our case studies.

Basic Expenses

Ancillary fees$350$600$600

Possible additional family expenses financed by spouse

Additional Housing (taxes, insurance, utilities)$4,170$5,000
Registered Disability Savings Plan for Child$2,085$2,500
Registered Education Savings Plan for Child$2,085$2,500
Registered Retirement Savings Plan for Spouse$2,085$2,500


Debt at Graduation

Total Unmet Need



Total Resources$25,341$31,920$32,155
Federal Grants$1,560$900$900
Federal Loans$6,435$8,190$8,190
Provincial Grants$0$3,070$14,490
Provincial Loans$5,850$3,585$0
Spousal contributions$11,496$16,075$8,575
Notes on spousal contributionsNone.None.Reduced by spouse's RRSP, RESP and RDSP contribution amounts.
Debt ReliefNone.Repayment Assistance Plan linked to income and repayment time (max 15 years).Repayment Assistance Plan linked to income and repayment time (max 15 years).

Take Aways:

  • Lou receives barely enough support to cover his costs in 2004 and insufficient support in 2014-15, leaving unmet need.
  • Lou’s debt total has been reduced  over the course of the indicated years as a result of the conversion of provincial loans to grants.
  • Whereas in many of our university case studies tuition had fallen between 2004 and 2014-15 (as a result of the Nova Scotia University Student Bursary), tuition has risen significantly at the NSCC (+37%).

Key Recommendations:

  • The Province of Nova Scotia should eliminate the limit on provincial student financial assistance for all eligible students studying at public post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia – Report: From Worst to First.
  • The Province of Nova Scotia should provide all provincial student financial assistance in the form of an up front grant for students studying at a public post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia – Report: From Worst to First.